There is currently some debate about banning smoking in the workplace. This means not only inside the building, but anywhere on the premises. Employers are trying to reduce the costs associated with health issues, medical and insurance costs, and vacations due to lost productivity. Certainly there are many reasons to consider it.
But those who oppose such measures say it is a human right and they should be allowed to continue. So what are the pros and cons of allowing smokers to smoke during working hours?
Is it a human right?
There are no specific human rights or laws that require employers to allow their staff to take smoking breaks when they choose. In most countries and jurisdictions, staff need to take regular breaks at certain times. It’s up to them what they do in these breaks to the extent that it makes sense. Therefore, smoking can be done during breaks agreed with the employer.
Some companies allow additional breaks for smoking. Others don’t. The reason for allowing it is that chronic smokers can lose concentration and temper if they do not correct nicotine. For this reason, some employers allow it, but this is less common.
In 2021, there are many alternatives to smoking, many of which can be done without breaks. Vaping is popular, although some offices don’t allow it inside. There are also alternatives like Snus in the UK that can be purchased online and shipped worldwide. Snus is a type of moist tobacco that can be held between the lips and gums. It contains nicotine, which can relieve smokers’ cravings. Other options, which are slightly less effective, include nicotine patches and gum.
Problems for employers
The problem of smoking at work is a double-edged sword for the HR department. On the one hand, allowing people to go for smoking breaks means a potential loss of productivity. That certainly means less time is spent attending work. Groups of smokers are more likely to get together and chat, so they spend more time away from tasks. If they go on a regular basis, this can be worth hundreds of hours a year, which can be very costly to the employer.
But on the other hand, not allowing smoking cessation can reduce morale and productivity. Smokers lose attention, feel tired, and can even get excited or depressed without nicotine. As a result, they lose interest in their work and can even conflict with other employees. In addition, employees want to feel trusted, and banning smoking can affect this.
Whether smoking is completely banned, allowed during scheduled breaks, or given free restrictions to employees depends on your industry, size, and the environment in which you create it. However, there are many benefits to encouraging your staff to switch to alternatives or quit smoking altogether. Thankfully, there is a solution so neither your company nor your team has to deal with withdrawals. The key is to find the best solution for you and your team.
Should employees be allowed to smoke during working hours?
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